Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Greg Says: Utilitarian use of CGI and thoughtful story make this a don’t miss movie
Title: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Date: 29 July 2011
Recommendation: See it in theaters and in 3D
Helpful: 28 out of 41 found this helpful.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a 98-pound weakling who wants nothing more than to kick some Nazi butt. He goes to every recruiting station in Brooklyn to get accepted and keeps getting turned down. On top of that, he is the neighborhood punching bag, constantly getting into scrapes with bullies bigger than him. And that is what drives Steve – he hates bullies and there are no bullies bigger than the Nazis.
He finally happens upon a special recruiting drive where a scientist (Stanley Tucci) is looking for someone with Steve’s kind of guts. But tough-as-nails Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) is more than dubious and runs Steve ragged in basic training. But Steve’s kind heart and determination make him the perfect personality for an injection that turns him into a super-strong Captain America.
It turns out that the Nazis aren’t the biggest bullies on the block. No, it’s Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) who is just using the Nazi platform as a way of taking over the world. All the players are set and we’re off as Captain America goes into battle with the forces of evil.
This movie is the beginning of the Avengers series and we’re no doubt going to see more of the classic Avengers from Marvel comics in coming years.
It is set in the 1940’s during the second world war and the costuming and period sets are excellent. I really felt drawn into this world. However it’s a sort of bizarro world where Nazis really don’t show up that much and Red Skull’s “Hydra” forces are everywhere.
And speaking of Red Skull – Hugo Weaving is amazing. Not just for his delivery and persona. But for being the best actor behind a mask since Michael Keeton’s Batman. Weaving was the man behind the mask in “V for Vendetta” where he delivered the entire movie wearing a Guy Faulks mask. Here, he uses his flesh-and-blood face for the first third of the film and then pulls that off to reveal his Red Skull face. And still delivers a flawless intensity that he has brought to every other role he’s plays since Agent Smith in “The Matrix”. The man can do no wrong.
Chris Evans starts out the movie looking very frail and sickly. But once he undergoes the special treatment, he is one buff dude. I haven’t spent any time trying to puzzle out the CGI magic that makes this possible, but it is impressive. I’d swear there were two actors in the role. Otherwise Evans is a pretty bland character. But he has all the golly-gee-whiz Mom-and-apple pie look and delivery that makes Captain America believable.
I said of “Green Lantern” that is was the perfect super-hero movie. I may have to take that back, because Captain America raised the bar higher. The writers took their time building the character of feeble- Steve. Then they took their time building the character of buff- Steve/Captain America. All the while defining the evil villain, creating relationships between Steve and love interest Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), and Colonel Phillips, and buddy ‘Bucky’ Barnes (Sebastian Stan). Unfortunately, they spent little time defining the relationships between Cap’n America and his team – but hey – it’s only a 2-hour movie.
The pacing was quite steady. I never felt bored and I never felt overwhelmed with last-minute plot devices. Except for one – Red Skull has this amazing technology and they really didn’t explain where it came from (other than a reference at the beginning of the film where Weaving’s character finds a glowing cube in some Egyptian ruins). The movie has a sort of steam-punk feel to it that I enjoyed.
So, for it’s big effects – used in just the right amount. And a story well-told, taking the time to tell it well, I gave Captain America a rating of “See it in the theaters”.
BTW: I saw it in 3-d which some reviewers have complained results in dark images. I enjoyed it in Real-3D and found the light levels to be just fine.